While the country is in anguish following mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH and a mass immigration raid in Mississippi, President Trump was tweeting about a movie. He caused initial confusion because he didn’t use the movie’s title and occurred at the same time that musician Kid Rock (and major Trump fan) slammed Taylor Swift’s venture in film — leading many to wonder if Trump was angry about the Cats remake.
“Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level...The movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos,” he posted on Twitter. So, what on earth is he talking about? It turns out, he was upset about a now-canceled movie called The Hunt.
....to inflame and cause chaos. They create their own violence, and then try to blame others. They are the true Racists, and are very bad for our Country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2019
Following that tweet, The Hunt has been shelved by Universal Pictures. It starred Hilary Swank, Emma Roberts, Justin Hartley, and Betty Gilpin, and was produced by Blumhouse, who specialize in horror films like Get Out and The Purge franchise. Although the trailer for The Hunt was released on July 30, details are slim about the films’ overall premise. It looked like, based on the trailer, that the movie was the Hunger Games meets cable news. In it, a group of “normal folks” are stalked for sport by “elites,” until one of them (Gilpin) fights back. The film certainly appeared to be gory: guns are fired, weapons are stockpiled, the characters are killed. “We pay for everything,” says Swank’s cooly murderous coastal character. “So this country belongs to us.”
Given that Blumhouse is known for producing horror movies with a socio-political message — Get Out looks at uncomfortable racial truths, while dystopia of The Purge looks at extreme power imbalances — The Hunt followed that political horror tradition, but Trump characterized a movie that was about class discord as one about the ideological divide. He railed against the movie on Twitter, calling Hollywood the “true Racists, and... very bad for our Country.” It is unclear why he chose to tweet about the film, but the Hollywood Reporter notes that it has been the subject of heavy Fox News coverage.
In light of the mass shootings, Universal Pictures previously announced, back on August 6, that it would suspend the movie’s TV and online marketing campaign, citing “content and placement” issues, reported the Hollywood Reporter. On August 10, the filmmakers and Universal agreed to cancel the release of The Hunt.
“While Universal Pictures had already paused the marketing campaign for The Hunt,” said Universal in a statement to Variety, "after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film. We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”